Here are my best guesses for the Best Supporting Actress nominations by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences…
1. Keira Knightley – “The Imitation Game”
The stunning crossword puzzle whiz in this WWII code breaking movie played the perfect supporting role to Benedict Cumberbatch’s more intense and loner character. Knightley’s XY chromosomes added a much-needed softer, gentler (and romantic) side to the geek squad of boys. Her brains and looks felt authentic from her first scene that she appeared in–taking a timed quiz to test her deciphering abilities (hint: she passed!). With her movie having a legitimate chance at Best Picture and Cumberbatch in a neck-and-neck dogfight with Michael Keaton (“Birdman”) and Eddie Redmayne (“The Theory of Everything”) for Best Actor, don’t discount Knightley in this category. In fact, I’d put her down as the favorite to win.
2. Patricia Arquette – “Boyhood”
We all know “Boyhood” is going to do very well in the Academy Award nominations department. But how many categories will this childhood story actually win? Hard to tell. I think she’s got a slightly better chance than her “Boyhood” costar, Ethan Hawke (as Best Supporting Actor), to take home the Academy Award. If Knightley doesn’t win Oscar gold on Feb. 22nd, it’ll probably be due to Patricia Arquette and her outstanding work on this 12-year project. But both Knightley and Arquette will earn Academy Award nominations for Best Supporting Actress.
3. Emma Stone – “Birdman”
The daughter of Michael Keaton’s “Birdman” persona has garnered plenty of rave reviews for Stone’s portrayal of the crazy, bug-eyed vagabond. I, too, thought she did a great job in the movie–particularly feeding off of Edward Norton’s ticking-bomb, back-up theater actor character “Mike”. Stone played the rebellious, hell-bent offspring with ripped nylons convincingly and even held her own opposite Keaton’s superb job. Although, I’d be surprised if Stone actually wins the Oscar in this category, she will make the short-list of five actresses with a nomination announced the morning of January 15th.
4. Laura Dern – “Wild”
While Reese Witherspoon’s acting in “Wild” has already secured prestigious SAG and Golden Globe nominations for Best Actress, many have overlooked Dern’s terrific job contributing to the storyline and overall film. Dern’s name deserves to make the Academy Award nomination list in this category–but it’s not a sure bet. In fact, Dern most likely won’t be on it…and that’s unfortunate. Jessica Chastain’s performance in the mob film “A Most Violent Year” will likely push Dern’s name off the Oscar nom list. However, that doesn’t make it right. And therefore, I’m keeping her in my Top 5.
5. Meryl Streep – “Into the Woods”
If Meryl Streep can earn an Oscar nomination for the horrible film “August: Osage County”, she’s a lock for this well-received, enjoyable musical. Streep, a true Hollywood All-Star, has more Academy Award nominations than anyone else. Ever. With 18 Oscar nominations (3 wins) and 28 Golden Globe nominations (including for “Into the Woods”), look for Streep to be a slam dunk for her 19th Academy Award nomination 2 1/2 weeks from now. Yes, she’s that good.
Who I’d love to see added to the Oscar list: Kim Dickens – “Gone Girl”. As Detective Rhonda Boney, Dickens shined in every scene she was in during this suspense thriller. Seriously, go back and see for yourself. Nailed. Every. Scene.
The Outside Shot: Tilda Swinton – “Snowpiercer”.
You can “click” on this links below to see my previous Oscar Watch lists:
Next up: REEL BRIEF’s Oscar Watch: Best Director.
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